February 1, 2023

Ozone Destruction Over North Pole Produces Weather Anomalies Across the Entire Northern Hemisphere

False-color view of overall ozone over the Arctic pole during the start of 2020. The blue and purple colors are where there is the least ozone, and the yellows and reds are where there is more ozone. Credit: NASA Ozone Watch
Many individuals know the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica, but what is less commonly known is that the protective ozone in the stratosphere over the Arctic is occasionally damaged as well, thinning the ozone layer there. This last took place in the spring of 2020, and prior to that, in the spring of 2011.
Climate scientists have actually seen weather condition problems over the whole northern hemisphere every time the ozone layer over the north pole has actually been thinned out. These weather abnormalities were particularly noticable in 2020.
In climate research, it refers argument whether there is a causal relationship in between stratospheric ozone damage and the observed weather anomalies. A function is also played by the polar vortex in the stratosphere, which forms in winter season and rots in spring. Researchers who have actually investigated the phenomenon up until now have shown up at different conclusions and contradictory results.

New findings are now shining light on the circumstance, thanks to doctoral student Marina Friedel and Swiss National Science Foundation Ambizione Fellow Gabriel Chiodo. Both are members of the research group headed by Thomas Peter, Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry at ETH Zurich, and are working together with Princeton University and other organizations.
A view of Earths atmosphere from space. Credit: NASA
Simulations reveal correlation
To uncover a possible causal relationship, the scientists ran simulations that incorporated ozone exhaustion into two different climate designs. Many environment designs consider just physical aspects, not variations in stratospheric ozone levels, in part since this would need far more calculating power.
Nevertheless, the brand-new calculations make it clear: the cause of the weather condition anomalies observed in the northern hemisphere in 2011 and 2020 is mostly ozone depletion over the Arctic. The simulations the researchers ran with the two designs mainly corresponded with observational information from those 2 years, in addition to eight other such occasions that were utilized for comparison functions. However when the scientists “switched off” ozone damage in the models, they could not reproduce those outcomes.
” What surprised us most from a scientific perspective is that, even though the designs we were using for the simulation are utterly various, they produced comparable results,” states co-author Gabriel Chiodo, SNSF Ambizione Fellow at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science.
False-color view of total ozone over the Arctic pole. The blue and purple colors are where there is the least ozone, and the yellows and reds are where there is more ozone. Credit: NASA Ozone Watch
The system explained
According to the scientists new understanding, the phenomenon begins with ozone deficiency in the stratosphere. For ozone to be broken down there, temperature levels in the Arctic need to be really low. “Ozone destruction occurs just when it is cold enough and the polar vortex is strong in the stratosphere, about 30 to 50 kilometers above the ground,” Friedel points out.
Generally, ozone takes in UV radiation emitted by the sun, thereby helping and warming the stratosphere to break down the polar vortex in spring. If there is less ozone, the stratosphere cools and the vortex ends up being more powerful. “A strong polar vortex then produces the effects observed at the Earths surface,” Chiodo states. Ozone therefore plays a major role in temperature level and blood circulation modifications around the North Pole.
Greater precision possible for long-lasting forecasts
The brand-new findings could help climate scientists make more precise seasonal weather condition and climate forecasts in the future. This permits better forecast of heat and temperature level modifications, “which is essential for farming,” Chiodo states.
Friedel includes, “It will be intriguing to observe and model the future advancement of the ozone layer.” This is because ozone depletion continues, although ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have actually been banned because 1989. CFCs are extremely long-lived and linger in the environment for 50 to 100 years; their potential to cause ozone damage lasts for years after they have been taken out of blood circulation. “Yet CFC concentrations are gradually declining, and this raises the concern of how rapidly the ozone layer is recuperating and how this will impact the climate system,” she states.
Referral: “Springtime arctic ozone depletion forces northern hemisphere climate abnormalities” 7 July 2022, Nature Geoscience.DOI: 10.1038/ s41561-022-00974-7.

False-color view of overall ozone over the Arctic pole throughout the beginning of 2020. The blue and purple colors are where there is the least ozone, and the yellows and reds are where there is more ozone. Climate researchers have seen weather problems over the whole northern hemisphere every time the ozone layer over the north pole has been thinned out. In climate research study, it is a matter of argument whether there is a causal relationship in between dizzying ozone destruction and the observed weather anomalies. The blue and purple colors are where there is the least ozone, and the yellows and reds are where there is more ozone.